Is there racism in schools? - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Is there racism in schools?

Many school systems in the south are still under federal court ordered desegregation mandates.

Many feel racism still exists.

Now Decatur schools are facing criticism from one school board member.

A board member is charging that the city maintains only the bare minimum of minority employees and passes over well-qualified candidates.

But Decatur school administrators says the charges aren't true.

That's the subject of this WAFF 48 Investigators Report.

Decatur schools are being accused of capping the number of minority teachers.

A federal mandate sets their percentage at 15 percent for the entire system.

Board member Tommy Sykes says that should be reflected at each individual school and it isn't.

"There are people being turned away on a year to year basis and it's not fair to hardworking principals to take their time and efforts to get these recruits."

Sykes says the complaints are from black principals, afraid to take their concerns to the administration.

"There could be some backlash."

But Superintendent Sam Houston says they have an open-door policy.

"If a principal has a problem concerning our system, we are the first line of support. All of our central office personnel have immediate access to principals," says Houston. 

Sykes also says minorities are not recruited enough.

"We recruit very extensively at Alabama A&M University. We go to Alabama State University. We recruit at Stillman University, we go to Montevallo. We just go to a plethora of universities to try to recruit minority students. But then again just the best candidates who are willing to help children," says Dr. Yvette Evans.

"There is a good ol' boy system here. We can't deny that," says Sykes. 

"We don't let excellent candidates get away. We do everything in our power to bring them to Decatur," says Houston. 

While Sykes says he won't let the question die, administrators seem to welcome any investigation.

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